The wait is finally over because Oticon has finally released an updated version of their extremely popular OPN hearing aid, improving performance, and adding a few nice features along the way.
When this original OPN hearing aid was released in 2016, it was extremely popular due to its ability to help users hear better in background noise without creating the "blinder" effect that forces you to look at who you want to hear. However, since Oticon's original release of the OPN, other manufacturers have made significant upgrades to their technology, forcing Oticon to do the same.This led to the release of the New Oticon OPN S line of devices. The OPN S utilizes the their New Velox S chip which is designed to improve upon their previous Velox chip by providing an additional 15% better speech understanding in noise, 10% reduced listening effort, and 10% better memory recall compared to the original OPN hearing aid.
The new OPN S comes in 3 different performance levels. The OPN-S 1 which is the premium level, followed by the OPN-S 2, and OPN-S 3. They also have several different models including the MiniRITE, MiniRITE T (telecoil version), MiniRITE R (rechargeable version), & the BTE Power Plus (size 13 tube and earmold). This review is of the MiniRITE R (rechargeable version), which happens to be the first Pro of this hearing aid. They now have a Lithium Rechargeable version.
Previously, OPN hearing aids only had access to the Z-Power Silver Zinc rechargeable batteries. Now, they have super fast charging lithium technology that only takes 3 hours for a full charge with an expected 20+ hours of battery life. If you do run out of battery, it only takes 30 minutes to add an additional 6 hours of battery life. The coolest thing about the Oticon lithium batteries is that they can be changed in office if necessary by your hearing care professional.
Pro #2. It has improved Feedback Control. The biggest weakness of the original Oticon OPN hearing aids was the feedback control. Feedback is the whistling sound you get when sound leaks from your ear canals and recycles through the microphones. Oticon has directly addressed this issue with their OpenSound Optimizer. White Paper:https://wdh.azureedge.net/-/media/oti...OpenSound Optimizer is designed to provide an additional 6 dB of gain before allowing feedback. They do this by instituting a breaker signal to disrupt the traditional feedback pathway. This signal largely goes unnoticed.
Pro #3. OpenSound Booster - 1. The OpenSound Booster is the most aggressive form of noise reduction inside of Oticon’s OpenSound Navigator. In the programming software, under OpenSound Transition, there is now an option for Very High Transition, which is basically OpenSound Booster. This is designed to improve how well you can understand speech that is directly infront of you.
Pro #4. OPN S is IP68 Rated - This means that you don't have to worry about getting your hearing aids wet. You can dunk them in a bucket of water and they will still work.
However, there are some negatives of the New OPN S devices.
Con #1. The rechargeable version is only available in the OPN S 1 tech level to start. While this may be a supply chain issue, the same thing happened with the release of their original OPN devices. So, if you want an OPN S 2 or 3, you'll have to wait.
Con #2. Is the OpenSound Booster. This effectively makes the hearing aids perform more like traditional hearing aids by creating a "tunnel effect". While I still like the feature, it is exactly what the OPN technology is trying to prevent, and makes the devices work more like traditional directional hearing aids from other manufacturers.
Con #3. Just because you get an additional 6 dB of gain before feedback, it does not guarantee that you will hit your prescriptive targets with an open dome. Sometimes you just have to physically close off the ear canal to fit steeply sloping hearing losses. Cons aside, Oticon has taken several steps in the right direction with their New Opn S devices and I expect to get a lot of requests for these devices from individuals who want to step up their hearing aid game to the next level.